Does Evaporated Milk Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Does Evaporated Milk Go Bad How Long Does It Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Evaporated milk is a dairy product made after the evaporating process and removing approximately 60% of water.

Unlike condensed milk, this product doesn’t contain any sugar or some other sweetener, but it is more shelf-stable than milk so that you can use it for long.

The primary questions are how long does evaporated milk last and does evaporated milk go bad. Let’s find out.

Does Evaporated Milk Go Bad?

Does Evaporated Milk Go Bad
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Evaporated milk is dehydrated and then sterilized at high temperatures. The result is a dark-colored, nutritious product with a caramelized flavor and a longer shelf life than milk.

You can add some water to it before getting regular milk, but it is usually an ingredient you can use to make delicious meals without changing its structure.

The evaporated milk shelf life primarily depends on its best before date and the way of storing. If you keep an opened product improperly, it will go bad and become unsafe for consumption. On the other hand, when you store it unopened, spoilage is unlikely, except if the can is compromised.

How Long Does Evaporated Milk Last?

How Long Does Evaporated Milk Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Evaporated milk is actually sterilized unsweetened condensed milk that doesn’t contain sugar as a preservative. Therefore, you should be careful and check how long it will last.

Evaporated milk shelf life

Evaporated milk type

KitchenPantryFridge
Unopened evaporated milk6 to 12 months1.5 to 2 years

/

Opened evaporated milk

/3 to 5 days3 months
Unopened low fat, skim evaporated milk/8 to 9 months

/

Unopened evaporated milk

This canned product will stay at high quality for at least 1.5 to 2 years after the best by date when stored appropriately. If the storing conditions are not ideal, and you keep your can in the kitchen, you can safely use this product for a year.

Keep in mind that longer storing will change evaporated milk’s color, flavor, and texture, but it will stay safe to consume in most cases. Unfortunately, refrigerating this product in unopened packaging won’t prolong its shelf life.

Opened evaporated milk

Evaporated milk will last only 2 to 3 days once you open a can, but you need to refrigerate it. Some producers claim that their products are safe for use up to 5 days after opening the packaging.

You should avoid storing evaporated milk in an open can. Always pour it into a sealed container and place it in the fridge.

Low-fat, skim evaporated milk

This evaporated milk type is edible approximately eight to nine months after the product best by date if you store it in the cool and dark pantry. An opened can last not more than 2 to 4 days when you keep it in the fridge.

7 Tips to Tell if Evaporated Milk Has Gone Bad

7 Tips to Tell if Evaporated Milk Has Gone Bad
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Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use opened evaporated milk longer than 3 to 5 days even though it seems perfectly fine since it probably is not. However, it is a rare case. In most cases, you will see clear signs of spoilage. Let’s see.

Milk skin

You will often see so-called milk skin forming on the opened product surface. It is not a sign of spoilage but a regular process of fat separation occurring when you store evaporated milk in a container that is not sealed appropriately or is not airtight.

That will appear when exposing milk to the air. You can quickly solve this by heating the milk and stirring it until reaching the desired consistency.

Smell

Spoiled evaporated milk won’t smell really badly. It will probably smell slightly different than a fresh one. Once you feel a foul smell, you don’t need to think twice. It is time to throw it away.

Color

Fresh evaporated milk is white, so any discolorations are a warning that something is wrong. If your product turns brown, green, or even black, you should get rid of it.

Texture

This product is always creamy with a smooth texture. The occurrence of lumps or curd-like texture means that you deal with spoiled evaporated milk.

Taste

There will be no need to taste evaporated milk to conclude that it went bad. However, sour taste is a sign that it is not edible anymore.

Mold

Once you notice mold on the evaporated milk, you can be sure that all content went bad. You can’t solve this by removing the changes. Throw it away immediately to prevent possible health issues.

Can

If you notice that an unopened can with evaporated milk is damaged, dented, rusted, or leaking, the best option is to toss it. Such a can is a potential risk of highly dangerous botulism poisoning.

5 Tips to Store Evaporated Milk

5 Tips to Store Evaporated Milk
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The rule of thumb is never to leave opened evaporated milk outside the fridge for more than two hours. Otherwise, you will allow bacteria growth at room temperature, resulting in possible harmful consequences.

Kitchen

It is not too complicated to store an unopened can with evaporated milk on your countertop or inside the kitchen cabinet. That way, you can keep your product safe for about 6 to 12 months.

Pantry

Storing cans with evaporated milk in a dark and cool place is an excellent solution to prolong its shelf life. It will stay undisturbed for up to two years as long as it remains unopened.

On the other hand, you can store an unopened can with low-fat, skim evaporated milk in your pantry for about nine months.

Fridge

Once you open the can, you need to place your evaporated milk in the fridge. Never store it in an opened can, but pour leftovers into a jar or an airtight container to prevent them from absorbing the smells of other foods.

Avoid containers that you can’t airtight because oxygen will affect the content and cause forming a film on the surface.

Freezer

Freezing evaporated milk is not an ideal solution because it destabilizes the product’s structure. It also causes losing its color and flavor and leads to ingredient separation. However, you can do that when necessary and prolong the shelf life of your product up to three months.

Conversion

You can convert evaporated milk into regular milk by adding an equal amount of water. Whenever you need a cup of milk, it will be enough to mix 0.5 cups of evaporated milk with 0.5 cups of water. Stir them well and use the milk as always.

Another option is to make a substitute for buttermilk. You will need a cup of evaporated milk and one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to get a cup of buttermilk.

The Risk of Consuming an Expired Evaporated Milk

The Risk of Consuming an Expired Evaporated Milk
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When you look at the product label, you will see that your evaporated milk has a best-by date printed there. In other words, that is the time when the product is of the quality, but you can still consume it after that period.

In general, you can probably use this milk for a couple of months, but remember that the skim variety shelf life is always shorter.

When you have a can of evaporated milk that has stayed for too long, the best option is to check the content before using it. Otherwise, you may face digestive tract disorder or even food poisoning, with typical symptoms that include:

  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Rusted cans are hazardous since they may directly cause botulism, a severe illness caused by a toxin, followed by symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Death

Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk?

As you can imagine, evaporated milk producers don’t recommend freezing their products because low temperatures disturb their consistency. As a result, your delicious creamy milk will end up separated, and its quality will decrease.

However, freezing is possible, and you can use the thawed product for cooking and baking when necessary. Moreover, you can improve its texture by stirring the content.

One of the best ways to freeze evaporated milk is by pouring it into an ice cube tray. That way, you can use a smaller amount whenever needed. If you want to add this product to your soup or broth, you don’t need to thaw it at all. It will be enough to take a cube or two and add them to the pot.

Another option is to pour the leftovers on a baking tray, freeze them, and then beat the ‘plate’ to a powder.

It will be enough to add a little water to it after thawing and get milk that you can continue to use when you need it.

Never freeze an unopened can. It doesn’t make sense since canned products won’t go bad while the packaging is undamaged. There is also a possibility of damaging the can at low temperatures. In the end, it is not a practical solution since you rarely need the whole amount at once.

Summary

Evaporated milk is a delicious and valuable creamy dairy product that can last for much longer than regular milk. Once you open the can, it is necessary to consume its content within five days to prevent it from going bad and causing discomfort or even food poisoning. Be careful, store this nutritious food properly, and enjoy it for long.

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